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tv   [untitled]    September 18, 2012 7:30pm-8:00pm PDT

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about this. and this is why it's so important that the page and a half of amendments that we have to address these concerns are included. let me state a couple of them that were not mentioned by supervisor kim. the language states that the board of supervisors directs the puc to undertake an extensive public education and outreach campaign in multiple languages with particular attention to low income communities to ensure that prior to the opt-out process residents are fully aware of the program, its features and its costs, the amendments also state that we strongly urge the puc to eliminate the clean power departure charge for a residential customer that is returning to pg&e services for at least a six month period and that after that time period that the charge be set at no more than a de minimus amount of $5. i wanted to ensure that the puc heard this loud and clear so we drafted language that states that pursuant to our authority under the contractor the board
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will consider rejecting rates that do not reflect the policies that i described. i want to mention one other clause that says, unless the s sf puc can ensure that low income customers will be offered rates similar to rates near low income customers served by pg&e puc will exclude low income customers in the initial phases of the clean power sf program. i think this really goes a long way in addressing concerns that we've heard from our low income and monolingual communities. i have a couple of questions for mr. harrington, if i may. and by the way, i want to just thank you for your leadership on this. i know that it was probably just a year ago that you were taking heated for not moving forward the cca program fast enough. i understand in recent weeks you've taken heat for moving the cca program too fast. so thank you for that. i also know this is your last week. and i had an opportunity some months ago to help present a
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lifetime achievement award to you but you've really done yeoman's work and i think this is a testament to what you have been trying to achieve in government over your decades of service. but my first question is, i heard from constituents of mine in chinatown and throughout the city that, in neighborhoods like the one in the heart of my district, where, as you indicated, the polling showed that there was very little or less support for this program than in others, i wanted to understand how that neighborhood and others would be treated in the roll out of this program. it's my understanding that because of the marketing that -- the market research that you've done, that that neighborhood and others would not be asked, early on, to take part in this program until we see where it goes. if you could address that, that would be helpful. >> that's exactly correct. we're looking at neighborhoods in the city where we believe more than 50% of the folks would like to be in this program, that
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does not have that level of support in major portions of your district, including chinatown. they would not be part of this first phase. again, the idea though is it is an opt-out program at some point. but that point is not required under state law to happen in the near future. we would hope that after we had 90,000 happy customers, others will want to sign on and we'll be able to do an opt-out program over time to bring in people who will want to be with us. we will not go after communities where we think most people don't want this because we don't want to trap anybody. it is of no interest to us to have people who get trapped for a month or two and leave. we want a stable group that wants to be in the program. >> president chiu: i appreciate that and that will be reassuring to residents in chinatown and similar neighborhoods that want to see how this program rolls out in time and to see that it will be successful. i did want to clarify the question to you about your perspective on the amendments that supervisors chu and farrell
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have indicated. just so i understand, you're stating that for the amendments on page 5 and 16 to the resolution, you have some issues -- you have probably some significant issues to that, but with regards to the ordinance at section 3, you're more comfortable with that. is that correct? >> that's correct, supervisor. >> president chiu: and then also i understand that the sf puc cannot necessarily immediately include, in clean power sf rates a component to begin recovering the reserves so suggestion has been made that we amend the language for supervisor chu's amendment to state that the sf puc will recommend the inclusion in clean power sf rates, et cetera. is that accurate -- >> yes, supervisor, because we have a rate fairness board. the puc has to then adopt it. this board has the right to veto it. so declaring it will be so will be added on to the regular process seems stronger than you should be, but saying we expect
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you to do it. absolutely, we will try to. >> president chiu: if i could suggest to our colleagues a quick technical amendment to supervisor chu's language so that the first line states the sf puc will recommend the inclusion in clean power sf rates a component to begin recovering the reserves required for this program, et cetera. and i hope that might be acceptable to the the maker of the amendments. >> that sounds reasonable. >> president chiu: okay. then with regards to the amendments that supervisor kim and i had worked on, i noticed as we were reading the language i just want to make two quick little technical changes in the third whereas paragraph in the second line, the word through is misspelled and i want to make sure that gets corrected. and the final paragraph the language that was circulated was a little unclear. it should state further resolve, pursuant to its authority under charter section 8 about 125, the board will consider rates in
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policies not described in this resolution -- i want to make sure that is abundantly clear so hopefully the maker of the amendment will be able to accept that. thank you very much. thank you, mr. harrington. >> supervisor cohen. >> supervisor cohen: mr. harrington, i must applaud you. with all your years in the city i don't think you've kicked up this much dust. no pun intended. >> are we on the 3:30 item or not? >> supervisor cohen: not yet. you have certainly found a way to exit your public service. and on what i think is a high note. and i want to encourage you, since you are going to be looking at your retirement, you will have some downtime, maybe you will run for office, and maybe you can work out this opt-out issue that we're all in agreement of. you certainly know a lot about
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it. this particular -- not situation, but this matter, i spent a significant amount of time listening to all sides of perspectives on this issue. i want to thank again all those involved in this process, even those members that have been blogging and writing about it, keeping our public informed. i believe that -- we have a unique conundrum here and the challenges as we address community choice aggregation. and just to put a little historical context on this conversation, historically, as you know, district 10 has been the home of our city's power plant. and as a result that, we've suffered greatly from environmental impact from dirty power generation and that's the lens that i've been looking through as i begin to figure out where i would be on this item. and i just wanted to highlight that we, as a city, are also encouraged public power in our new development, particularly calling out the example of the
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hunter's point shipyard, energy that will be provided by puc. so with that said, i'll skip over all my notes because i'm the last to speak and everyone else have stole all my talking points so i'll wrap this up to say i'll be supporting the amendment offered by supervisor kim because i believe they address a number of concerns particularly those that i believe my constituents have about protecting low income and senior customers, as well as codifying the need -- the language access need that also exists. i'm also willing to support supervisor chu's amendment directing puc to maintain a reasonable reserve for this program. i think that's very fair and measured. while i thank supervisor farrell and chu for their two amendments i believe while it may not be the intention, they significantly -- the other two poemproposals significantly comt
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the puc ability to -- the program successfully. that's our goal to have a program that's implementable and a smooth execution. with that said i definitely also believe that all san franciscans deserve a choice on where their energy comes from and who will be providing it. i believe this program strikes the right balance between achieving our environmental goals and protecting our vulnerable customers. and that is it for me, mr. president. thank you. >> president chiu: supervisor campos. >> supervisor campos: thank you. i want to first of all thank all my colleagues for all their comments today. it has been, i think for me, as a member of this board, great to see the level of the -- the substantive level of discussion here, and the fact is that we, as a body, could have differences of opinion but i think that whatever happens here has been enriched by the substance of the discussion.
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and with respect to the amendments, i want to associate myself with the comment that supervisor cohen, who i think put it extremely well. i appreciate the intent of the first two of the amendments that were presented by supervisor chu and farrell with respect to pages 5 and 16, but i will be voting against those two amendments for the reasons that mr. harrington outlined, out of deference to him, and in their estimation their ability to make sure that this program is successful, i will respectfully oppose the first two of the amendments introduced by my colleagues. and with respect to the third amendment, which deals with the reserve for the reasons that mr. harrington indicated, i will be supporting that amendment. and so i will be urging my colleagues to vote no on the first two amendments by supervisors farrell and chu, but
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yes on the third. and with respect to the amendments that were introduced by supervisor kim, president david chiu, supervisor cohen, supervisor mar, i will be strongly supporting those amendments. i think that the add to the program and address some of the concerns that have been outlined. and, you know, a lot has been said about the viability of this program, a lot of questions about whether or not the numbers add up, some questions about protecting consumers. i have a lot of respect for my good friend, supervisor farrell. i just respectfully have a different take. i actually think that, to the extent that consumer protection is the objective here, that the best thing that we can give consumers in the city and county of san francisco is a choice, and that's what this is about. about a meaningful choice, and a meaningful choice is making sure
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that the energy future of this city does not rest solely in the hands of one company. it is truly about consumer protection in my view, and because of that i think that we need to move forward with this. and to the extent that the numbers -- you know, there was a question about whether or not the numbers add up or don't add up. i am not a financial expert. but on that point i am very comfortable deferring to the judgment of ed harrington. you know, ed harrington served as controller of the city and county of san francisco from 1991 to 2008. appointed and recommended by the entire board of supervisors, by mayor after mayor. he is a certified public accountant. and he also served as president of the government finance officers association of the united states, and canada. i feel pretty -- i feel pretty comfortable trusting ed harrington on whether or not the numbers add up. so i urge you, colleagues, to
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support this today. >> president chiu: supervisor farrell. >> supervisor farrell: thank you, president chiu. a few comments, colleagues. we talked about a number of the amendments. it goes to the definition of choice and i believe creating an opt-out program for residents in our districts is not choice. to me there is absolutely no reason why any law should be an opt-in program such as this. it smells of coercion and that's not something i'm willing to vote for, for my residents in district 2 and for all representatives in san francis san francisco. supervisor campos, i too trust in ed harrington, his qualifications are impeccable but i want concrete numbers if i'm going to vote on nothing, or use that to vote on something and the fact is we have no numbers in front of us, they've never been presented to us, and to articulate that creating local power is a biproduct of this is a fallacy. i think when people articulate
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that and tell other folks that is part of what we're voting on today, that is untrue. i appreciate the fact that people have differences of opinion about how it may or may not be financed in the future but it is not on the table today and should not be articulated as such. i appreciate people's comments. to me it's a concept of choice. i think having an opt-out program for the residents is absolutely the wrong approach. >> president chiu: supervisor wiener. >> supervisor wiener: thank you. you know, i have to say the opt-out-opt-out issue -- and this is not in any way a criticism of anyone because there's been a lot of stuff that's been happening, and conversations in the last few days, and few weeks. and, you know, i think it's unfortunate that the -- this amendment about the opt-in, or the preopt-in, or the market
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opt-in, whatever you want it call it, is coming up now, and i know we've had a response from the puc, but it feels a little bit seat of the pants to me. i, frankly -- you know, i think, ideally it makes sense to figure out what the level of support is ahead of time. but i don't know that i -- that we've even gotten a definitive response about what is possible and what's not possible. and i know that -- mr. harrington is retiring on thursday. you know, frankly, to me, it seems like for this specific issue, because the opt-out-opt-in issue has been at heart of so much of the public debate about this that it seems to me that we should figure out if it is feasible. and if it it is feasible, maybe it's not, maybe it is, maybe
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this language here is the right language, or maybe it can be flushed out in a different way that addresses some of those concerns. it makes me uncomfortable that we, as a board, are voting on whether to have this, which is a significant thing, based on this sort of somewhat seat of the pants discussion. and so, colleagues, i know this is probably not -- i have no idea -- maybe i'll -- be the only vote for this but i think we should continue this one week so that issue can be worked out definitively. because i just don't think we're in a position to address that in a thoughtful way right now, based on the discussion we've had so far. and that's just my honest and candid take on this particular, very central and important issue. >> president chiu: supervisor wiener's made a motion to continue. is there a second in seconded by
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supervisor farrell. the motion to continue takes precedence over any of the motions to amend but let's have a discussion on the motion to continue. supervisor campos. >> supervisor campos: thank you very much, mr. president. you know, we had a prior item where i actually voted against a motion to continue because i really felt that it was important, that if we were talking about a continuance that there be a discussion with the main proponent of the legislation. i haven't had a conversation with supervisor wiener about a continuance so i will respectfully ask my colleagues to vote against the motion to continue. the reality is this. i understand the arguments that have been made. i respect the position that supervisor farrell has articulated. i do think that he has legitimate concerns about the opt-out program. but the bottom line is that we, as a body, the city and county of san francisco board of supervisors, do not have power
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to change the fact that this is an opt-out program. it is state law. it is state law. and at the end of the day, you can try to add as much as you can, and we have seen language here that really maximizes our ability to make sure that a meaningful choice is given to people. but at the end of the day the problem that people have, i think, is with the policy of this being opt out. and i respect that position. but that is not going to change because we, as the board of supervisors, wait until thks week to take action. that is not going to change. the law is not going to change in sacramento between now and next tuesday. with respect to the viability and with respect to the merits of this program, i rely on what mr. harrington said, when the mayor floated the idea of a continuance yesterday, as mr. harrington indicated, the terms, the substantive terms of this deal are not going to
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change. the mayor's public utilities commission approved this item in december of last year. this item was forwarded to the board of supervisors at that time, and has been sitting in committee since january of this year. the mayor's office, and anyone who wants a continuance because they want to have modifications, has had plenty of opportunity to make whatever changes they needed to make. they had months to make those changes while this was sitting in committee. their own puc is saying that this deal is not going to get better. and we heard the testimony from their own department of the environment saying that, in terms of meeting our climate change objectives, this is what needs to be done. i understand that people don't like community choice aggregation. i understand that people don't want to go down this road. but with ed harrington leading this charge, this is as good as it's going to get.
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and if you don't like cca under ed harrington, you're not going to like cca under anyone else. so let's take a vote. >> president chiu: if i could remind folks in the chamber we have a board rule that prohibits folks from expressing support and applause or objection with hissing to various comments. if you could respect that, that would be appreciated. supervisor farrell. >> supervisor farrell: i appreciate supervisor campos' comments. to be clear that is not changing the opt-out nature of cca. we cannot do that by state law. what we're trying to do is make it better. and to me, for us not to -- this is something -- the first time i heard of it just now was when supervisor wiener mentioned it. but to talk about not working on it, which is the main issue of contention not only here on the board but to the public, to agree to continue this for a week to me is saying we're not
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willing to work on programs to make them better for san francisco janice and i think that is the wrong approach. so me it's take it as it is, shove it down our throats the way it is today. it can get better and we're willing to work on it, even if it's slightly different than what i've proposed today and real realize it's come out in a last minute. it's a huge issue. i think we can get support on the board and i don't see a reason why we don't try. it speaks of being afraid to have that dialogue. >> president chiu: supervisor cohen. >> supervisor cohen: i was, through the chair, wanting to ask supervisor wee wiener just o maybe articulate about what you hope to accomplish in one week's time. >> supervisor wiener: thank you, through the chair. >> president chiu: supervisor wiener. >> supervisor wiener: thank you, supervisor cohen. i also just want to, in terms of what supervisor campos mentioned, i was handed these amendments when i walked -- after i walked into the chambers
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today. so i totally agree that had i received -- you know, had i received this beforehand, i certainly would have said something. but we were handed this, and then we just saw a discussion between the makers of the motion and the puc, and there seems to be a disagreement about whether this is viable. but this amendment could also be presented in probably 30 different forms. and maybe all 30 are completely unviable. maybe some of them are viable, and some of them are not. if we don't continue it, that's fine. i accept that and i respect that. but it seems that for an issue that we're considering of this importance, it would make sense to at least know, for sure, whether this is viable or not viable in any form, rather than having language, and then we're scribbling on the paper, sort of the seat of our pants. that was my only point.
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and the word -- the continuance, i will not take that personally but i am a big believer when you have an issue staring you in the face that over the last number of days has been the main issue being discussed in the public, perhaps the main concern that's being expressed, if there is a way to address it, and to do it in a thoughtful way that works for the puc, then we should see if that's possible. if not, so be it. but that was the only reason, for my making of the motion, and the only reason why i did it here in the board chambers after i received this language. >> president chiu: supervisor chu. >> supervisor chu: thank you. i want to thank the comments. i do support supervisor wiener's motion. and, you know, i think the intention, as we saw today, being able to accept potentially this amendment on the reserves, being able to potentially make amendments to the program that would actually strengthen our comfort in making sure that people are choosing a program that they want to be in, i think
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these are all very legitimate things to do. i think that supervisor farrell has already articulated, we understand that there is limitation -- there are lintations set by state laws, limitations based on not being able to do an opt-in program and that will not change within a week's time. when is important for us to look at and work with our state attorney on is how to strengthen this program, this opt-out component that we have to include in the program such that we make sure people are notified adequately, that they are able to understand fully what risks they are going into, what the rates potentially would look like. this is something that is very crucial in understanding it. i know for one, having parents who were immigrants, having parents who worked all the time people sometimes just miss things, they miss bills that come in the mail, sometimes they miss things through e-mail, they're busy working. so really being able to strengthen that component is very important. i think we can benefit from a
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week's time. i'd like to come to a place where i could support this. so this is -- that's the place that i come from so i hope a week might be able to help us get there. >> president chiu: supervisor olague. >> supervisor olague: yeah. i won't be supporting the motion to continue. i want to be consistent. i know supervisor campos had not been aware this motion would be made. i think it's important to move ahead with this. i'm pretty satisfied with where it's at currently. i'm not at a place where i would be necessarily supportive of many amendments. i think we're at a good place. i'm ready to move forward with it as it is presented to us today. and i believe that with the amendments that supervisors kim and others have introduced, as far as being sensitive to the needs of communities who are monolingual, or low income, i
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think have been addressed through those amendments. so i'm comfortable in moving forward with this today. >> president chiu: supervisor cohen 106r7b8g9s thank you very much. to supervisor chu and maybe possibly other supervisors that are thinking about supporting the continuance, could you share with me what tangible goals, one week is not very much time, what tangible goals will you want to solve, what questions are you looking to get answers to? >> i can speak to it. i am not suggesting that in a week's time we're going to come to a comprise that we will all agree with but i think we can benefit from a conversation more in detail and in depth with the city attorney to really understand given that we have an opt-out requirement by the state, what is the limitation that we can push to make sure that we have something that markets aggressively, make sure that we don't have people who
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are registered for the program. that is something that would be had in terms of a conversation over the next week. i think it also provides opportunity to clean up some of the language. i absolutely accept responsibility that a lot of the amendments were on the sly, so i think it provides us with an opportunity to clean up some of that and make sure we're not inadvertently putting something forward, amendments put trd that don't make sense. again, it is not an indefinite continuance, we're not saying send it back to committee and we'll never look at it again. we're saying one week and take a vote either way. >> i have a question for the city attorney. given some of the comments that you heard as to reasons why we should have a continuance can you offer some kind of opinion, or advice, some thought, as to is there any more insight that you can give us to this matter? i mean specifically an
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opt-in-opt-out. >> if we can hear from the city attorney's office, i don't know if that's mr. gib mer -- >> deputy city attorney. i don't think i can answer that question. i don't think either of us can. of course, if supervisors have additional questions or ideas, and they would like legal advice on those questions or ideas, we're always available to discuss. but i'm not sure i can offer something right now, to answer the questions you're asking. >> supervisor cohen: thank you. the reason i asked the city attorney's office because i'm sure those who have questions would be going to the city attorney's office. so just curious. i don't know what question hasn't been asked already. although i do understand the need to clean up legislation. is there another way -- or to clean up the language, excuse me, to the legislation. if we vote on this today, and would there be opportunity to clean up legislation -- clean up
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the language to the legislation or we have to vote on it as is? madam clerk, i'm asking you. >> >> president chiu: is that a question for our clerk? >> supervisor cohen: yes. >> clerk calvillo: supervisor cohen you could vote on this idea today. you could always bring another ordinance in its place to correct the language. >> supervisor cohen: thank you. that answers my question. >> president chiu: thank you. president chiu. >> president chiu: colleagues, having thought about it and thought about the issue of potential continuance over the last few days, i am not prepared to support the continuance for a couple of reasons. first of all, we know that this issue has been in the works not just for months, but for years. and this question we're talking about has been a fundamental issue within this discussion. it has been frankly a little surprising to me that the issue has come up at the last moment. i know we have colleagues and members of the administration th


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